It is the phone call that no parent wants to receive. “Mr. Butler, this is the hospital. Your son has been in a very bad accident. You need to come”
For the next almost six hours we were in our car, not knowing what we were going to find. Not knowing if he was still alive. We were in constant contact with the nurses and doctors, but their answers were vague at best. At one point I concluded they were not going to tell us over the phone, but that we had lost him. We are grateful that this was not the case.
I’ve been a pastor for almost 31 years. I have seen hundreds of people in ICUs on ventilators. These are people I know and love. I’ve even seen my mom and dad like this. But this was different. This was my baby. Yes, he is 24 years old, and I was absolutely helpless. There was nothing that I could do to make him better. There was nothing I could do to fix him.
Over the last few days it has come to us just how close we came to losing him. We now realize that doctors and nurses who deal with trauma every single day were genuinely frightened. It’s a good thing that we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? I just finished preaching eight sermons from the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd … He leads me … He restores my soul … Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
Really? I admit fully to you that I was very much afraid.
Do you have any idea how many times in the Bible, God or an angel says to someone, “Do not fear?” Neither do I, but it is quite often. He said it to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Mary, Joseph and others.
I have come to this conclusion: God tells us not to fear so often because he knows that in this world there is much for us to fear. There are fearful things and people and places that we encounter every day.
But the Bible says — and our own experience confirms — that God is greater than our fears. This past week I have sought to follow the principles that I preached so easily from David’s great poem in Psalm 23. I have to tell you that they were easier to preach last month than they have been to live this week.
And yet, God has been with us. He has not forsaken us. We have never for one moment been alone. He is so good.
The verse to which I have clung most tightly this week is, “Casting all your cares upon him for he cares for you.” Right now I have more cares than I can carry alone. But my Lord and savior knows it all, and he is walking with us all the way.
He cares for me. He cares for my son. I must give him my cares. He will carry them for me.